“The trouble with this technology is that it is easily available but devilishly hard to crack,” the source told the Mail. “The technology can now be accessed on mobile Internet devices and the country’s mobile-phone network is expanding rapidly.”
It’s true that Skype’s encryption is impossible to crack. It’s also true that Skype is available for Windows Mobile smartphones.
But it’s doubtful that a Taliban commander standing by the side of a dirt road 20 miles outside of Kandahar is going to get much mobile broadband Internet access on his $600 phone.
More likely, any insurgents using Skype to evade Western ears are sitting in front of regular old PCs, using fixed lines to route calls over the Internet.
Taliban fighters targeting British troops in Afghanistan are using the latest ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“internet phonesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ to evade detection by MI6, security sources said last night.
Skype, a popular piece of consumer software that allows free calls to be made over the web, has been adopted by insurgents to communicate with cells strung out across the country.
Unlike traditional mobile calls, which can be monitored by RAF Nimrod spy planes, Skype calls ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the commercial application of a technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ are heavily encrypted.
Now, the crowd, armed with a variety of speedy communication devices and simple, online tools with which to exploit them, can increasingly outpace the most sophisticated news and intelligence capabilities.
However, the changes that modern telecommunications technologies and their associated applications have brought to the world are only the most visible of those that are already affecting intelligence affairs. Three other trends, the ascendency of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œopen,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the collapse of the so-called intelligence cycle and the changing perception of intelligence in the public eye, are likely to completely revolutionize intelligence over the next 5-10 years.
The ascendancy of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œopenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
the ascendancy of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œopenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in intelligence work goes beyond open sources of information. Today, increasingly, intelligence communities around the globe are playing catch-up to the proliferation of open systems. The US intelligence community, for example, announced the development of Intellipedia in 2006, five years after Wikipedia, and only recently publicized its deployment of A-Space, modeled after the highly successful social networking site, MySpace, which went online in 2003.
Collaboration, one of the Enterprise Objectives in the first publicly available US National Intelligence Strategy, has been elevated to one of the intelligence communityÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œvaluesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in current DNI Mike McConnellÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Vision 2015 document. Furthermore, in the USÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Intelligence Community Directive 205, analysts have been ordered to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œleverage outside expertise as part of their work.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Collaboration and outreach imply openness and a variety of easy to use, off the shelf tools to maximize it.
The only other option is to retreat back into some sort of slow-moving, inflexible, safe-but-irrelevant organizational structure that remains in a permanent state of reaction to the fast, agile threats surfacing and strengthening daily.
The collapse of the intelligence cycle
This consensus opinion, that intelligence flows effortlessly from the decisionmakerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s intelligence requirements, to collection of relevant information, to analysis of that information, to production of the intelligence product and then back to the (sometimes) satisfied decisionmaker, falls apart under the slightest pressure. Indeed, no seasoned intelligence professional actually believes that intelligence works, or has ever worked, in this fashion. The actual process is much less linear and much more complex.
The changing perceptions of intelligence
More and more commercial, nongovernmental and law enforcement enterprises have begun to realize the value of having specialists who can extract meaning from the vast ocean of potentially relevant but unstructured and often unreliable or even deceptive information available.
Collecting and analyzing this type of information, especially in the private or law enforcement sectors where traditional anything-goes intelligence activities are illegal or unethical, requires highly trained professionals.
Increasingly, however, students attracted to intelligence careers are pursuing those interests in more traditional academic settings.
As the demand increases for entry level analysts and other intelligence professionals with these skills and abilities, the supply of colleges and universities offering such specialist programs will also likely increase. Already there are a number of schools offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in intelligence studies or applied intelligence in the US and in other countries and this number is set to grow.
As the educational infrastructure grows to meet the demand for this new kind of knowledge worker, students will increasingly come to the discipline of intelligence directly, in much the same way they now come to engineering or architecture.
Eventually, some educational institutions will begin to offer professional degrees in intelligence studies in much the same way many universities now offer advanced professional degrees in law or education. This normalization of intelligence as a profession will likely become, in turn, a self-reinforcing cycle, dramatically changing the ways ordinary people and institutions see intelligence.
The revolution is coming
These four trends ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the advances in technology, the growing importance of open sources and open systems, the urgent need for new processes and the changing way people think about intelligence work ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ are combining to form a powerful force that will revolutionize intelligence over the next 5-10 years.
Totally unrelated to the content of this article….BUT…why can’t AFP either 1) link to the document on the FAS site themselves or 2) at least link to the Wired “Danger Room” post that links to the document?!? If they can link to wired.com, then they should be able to link to any other thing on the web. Of course…they are not, apparently, able to link to Wired.com, beause when I click the link I just get an error message. So then the question becomes, why is it that the AFP has not figured out how hyperlinking works??
A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter, Global Positioning System maps and voice-changing software as potential terrorist tools.
The report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), examines a number of mobile and web technologies and their potential uses by militants.
The report outlined scenarios in which militants could make use of Twitter, combined with such programs as Google Maps or cell phone pictures or video, to carry out an ambush or detonate explosives.
Besides Twitter, the report examined the potential use by militants of Global Positioning Systems and other technologies.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.